DHAKA  - Bangladesh’s railway minister resigned on Monday amid a graft scandal in which his personal secretary and two officials were found with 7m taka ($86,000) in cash. Suranjit Sengupta denied accusations that the money was bribes from applicants seeking jobs on the state-run Bangladesh Railway, but he said he was resigning to “bolster democracy”. Sengupta said that his decision would allow a full probe into the allegations. “I am stepping down even though I was not involved in the incident. A lot of people think if I stay at the helm of the ministry, the investigation could be influenced,” he said.

His resignation came after his secretary and two officials were briefly detained last week at a paramilitary camp in Dhaka with the cash, which they had in a minibus.

The three told local media they were heading to Sengupta’s house with the money.

The incident has embarrassed the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who summoned Sengupta to her office on Sunday after returning from a visit to Turkey.

The government has fallen in popularity in recent months due to soaring food prices, a cut in energy subsidies and a series of graft allegations.

Bangladesh’s next national election is due to be held by early 2014.